In an effort to bring light to the controversial American classic, the junior-senior cast will perform the “The Children’s Hour” by Lillian Hellman. The play, set in a rural boarding school in the 1930s, features a majority female cast. According to Dr. David Klein, acting and drama teacher and sponsor of high school thespians,“‘The Children’s Hour’ is a play that really shook the American value system through some of the issues it brought up.”
“The Children’s Hour” discusses the topic of lesbianism during the 1930s through the story of two women who run a school. The women, Karen and Martha, are accused of being lesbians by a student, leading to their school’s closure. “At that time, being a lesbian was considered an aberration,” Dr. Klein said. “To accuse someone of being a lesbian at that time was to destroy their lives.”
Dr. Klein believes that this play is relevant to today’s society. “The play pertains to the acceptance of the LGBT community and deals with that issue, which is definitely still relevant today,” Dr. Klein said.
When discussing the importance of performing the play now as opposed to in the 1930s, Dr. Klein feels as if the play’s message is important to bring up. “I feel that doing the play now as opposed to doing it in the 1930s allows us to explore some different things like the relationship between the two women,” Dr. Klein said.
Thinking about the next play he would be overseeing, Dr. Klein wanted a play that would give female students an opportunity to lead. “I wanted to give my students a new style and I also wanted to give them a female-heavy work because, at this moment in the program, our junior-senior class is very female heavy,” Dr. Klein said. “It’s a girl heavy show.”
Knowing the backstory of the play, junior Ella Noriega, who plays Martha, feels as if the hardships of women sit at the back of her mind. “Both in the 1930s and now, women are expected to conform to many of society’s suffocating standards, and this play explores that in many different ways,” Noriega said.
Playing the role of Karen, senior Samantha Lynar feels she understands the burdens that women had to maintain during the 1930s. “These women are put into perfect boxes, and it’s a weight that you have to carry around and try to achieve,” Lynar said. “There’s a heightened way of speaking and talking. It’s kind of burdensome.”
Both Noriega and Lynar look forward to performing in the upcoming play. “I’m definitely excited to see people’s reactions to its message because it is very controversial,” Noriega said. “I am excited to see how the audience will react.”
“The Children’s Hour” is Lynar’s last junior-senior play. “It’s been a great opportunity and a positive environment,” Lynar said. According to Lynar, the audience will find the answer to the question of how someone will react when everything is taken away from her.
“To anyone coming to see the play, don’t forget to view the conflict from every point of view and think of which characters you would want to align with your life,” Noriega said.